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Pedestrian Verse is the fourth studio album from Scottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit and represents their first release on a major label; Atlantic Records.
Its title deliberately chosen by the band’s gifted lyricist Scott Hutchinson to challenge himself, Frightened Rabbit’s fourth album, Pedestrian Verse, is full to bursting with words and descriptions that are anything but.
After a diversion into more oblique themes and imagery on their previous release, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, the band now return to the full power of their earliest work.
Opener Acts of Man sees Hutchinson’s falsetto croon weave tales of modern antiheros – “the cad in the kitchen, giving wine to your best girl’s glass”, “the amateur pornographer”, or men that “promise every girl we marry / We’ll always love them, and we probably won’t”.
The band doesn’t sit above this cavalcade of wrongs, though. The song ends with Hutchinson admitting he, too, is “sorry, selfish, trying to improve” and “not heroic”, the tacked on “…but I try” giving the song its emotional pay-off.
Similarly wonderful is State Hospital’s clear-eyed depiction of the birth and young life of its protagonist, “Brought home to breathe smoke in the arms of her mother”, growing up to become “all thighs, hair and magpie handbag”, all the while the chorus reminding us that “her heart beats like a breezeblock thrown down the stairs”.
The focus on family and parenthood – in the least sentimental way imaginable – is notable throughout, from Acts of Man’s reluctant, accidental fathers to Housing (in)’s evocation of “the starch of the family food”.
Religion too looms large, often intertwined with imagery of death, sin, loss, and there is a thread of violence – honestly depicted and resolutely unglamorised – as well. The lyrical clarity and emotional honesty shine through, though, with the warm sense of a band that genuinely both cares about and has lived the lives described.
Hutchinson’s tender Scottish brogue spins tales that encompass the big themes – religion, family, violence, love, loss – but his words hone in on the personal rather than the general in a way that is enthralling and humanising. Throughout, the lyrical clarity and emotional honesty of the band shine through, creating an album that is as much uplifting as it is in parts bleak.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Pedestrian Verse" is their fourth album and as the "fingers crossed review" in the Independent smartly puts it "here's hoping they can also Elbow their way into the mainstream" (Boom boom!). The chances of this are very good as "Pedestrian Verse" is an album which shows that Hutchinson's ability to combine soaring passion with often bleak musical lyricism and mix it into powerhouse songs has increased exponentially. Just listen to the brilliant lead single "The Woodpile" a mix of massive swirling guitars and a chorus so huge it obscures the sun, as Hutchinson pleads "Will you come back to my corner?/Spent too long alone tonight/Would you come and Brighten my corner/A Lit torch to the woodpile eye". Do yourself a favour also seek to check out the "supermarket incident" video that goes with this. The album's opener "Acts of man" again is a big anthem but underpinned by almost Roger Waters like cynicism.Read more ›
'So if we can't bring an exorcist/I'll settle for one of your stiffest drinks' from 'Dead now' is typical of Scott Hutchison's dark sense of humour. It's not all bleak though and despite the fact that it doesn't retain the reborn again optimism of 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks', there's an optimistic streak running throughout 'Pedestrian Verse'.
When the Talking Head's inspired 'Dead Now' reaches it's climax, the chorus of 'There's something wrong with me' doesn't sound self-pitying but something triumphant along the lines of The National's 'Abel'
Sonically too, they're stretching themselves further and they've found a wonderful collaborator and producer in Leo Abrahams, a frequent partner of Brian Eno these days. He adds a spritely sense of urgency to some of the songs whilst lending deft sonic touches to some of the mid tempo songs recalling some of Brian Eno's best production work.
Rather inevitably, people who are fans of FR will ask if this is better than 'The Midnight Organ Fight'. I can't answer that at this point as 'TMOF' means an awful lot to a lot of people, including me. I think it just might be though.
One thing is for sure, Frightened Rabbit are in a league of their own and I'd be hard pressed to compare them to any other band out there at the minute.Read more ›
* The genius bass that anchors and rides out Acts of Man beginning at "I am just like all the rest of them: Sorry, selfish, trying to improve".
* The bridge in The Oil Slick.
Why was Boxing Night left off this? It's one of your most amazing songs, Scott!
I was incredibly disappointed with the lack of hooks this album but also the fact that it never seems to grow over time either.
Owl John was a masterpiece, and I'm excited about the new album due this year. Let's hope it's better than this.
I'd not heard of Frightened Rabbit before but I'm familiar with Idlewild and Malcolm Middleton who they remind me of. The music is excellent even if I feel like I've heard it all before - I'm aged 58 so I probably have!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great record from Frightened Rabbit. While some say it doesn't quite meet the standards of The Midnight Organ Fight, whether that's true or not does not detract from how... Read morePublished on 17 July 2014 by Jonathan Blake
Not quite up to the brilliance of their last couple of studio albums in my opinion but in Holy I think they have written their best song to date.Published on 7 May 2014 by Jes
Seen a review and thought that I would like it, better than I anticipated. definitely recommend this music to aeveryonePublished on 12 Dec. 2013 by Alistair Walker
Midnight Organ Fight is still my all time favourite album ever, but Pedestrian Verse comes close. Very close. If you're a fan of beardy Scottish folk bands, you'll love Frabbits.Published on 26 Aug. 2013 by Stevie
Ah, now I've found another band to get into! This album is just brill! Now I have to buy all their albums. You do too. You will not be disappointed!Published on 27 July 2013 by kimiwimi